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Dam oustees’ funds used to buy vehicles for ministers
Lalit Mohan
Tribune News Service

Dharamsala, April 11
The state ministers and bureaucrats are draining the Pong Dam Oustees Development Agency (PODA), which is meant for welfare and providing employment to thousands of dam oustees. The finances for the agency are coming for the compensation provided for common lands of oustees that was acquired for the Pong Dam by the BBMB.

As per information collected under the RTI, in 2003-04 a Scorpio was purchased for the then state revenue minister using PODA funds worth Rs 5,36,707. In 2005-06 another vehicle worth Rs 7,49,241 was purchased for the revenue minister. Sources said Rs 10,000 from PODA funds were used for taking VIP number for the vehicle.

Information obtained by Pong Dam oustee Ashwani Kumar Sharma also revealed that the funds were used by politicians in government institutions and no clear account of expenditure has been kept. Contradictory information has been provided regarding the funds allotted to government college at Dhaliara from PODA funds. In the first information provided on December 26, 2007, it was stated that Rs 32 lakh was provided for the college. However, in another information on February 19, 2009, it was stated that just Rs 22,76,000 was provided for the college.

The oustees are, however, alleging that the funds are meant for their welfare and not government institutions.

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